Effectively reduces veil, More detailed, Enhanced comfort, Cost effective
Limited international availability
This is a simple and cost-effective way to enhance your existing headphone in both sound and ergonomics.
The Koss Porta Pro is quite the classic – an affordable headphone that harkens back to those before while retaining a sound that pleases modern audiences. However, despite being a shocker in the sound department, their comfort accurately reflects their aging design. YAXI, an ear pad manufacturer from Japan provide a simple and affordable solution. Their Porta Pro pads aren’t using any unorthodox material such as their Alcantara line, but a soft sponge that better conforms to the ear. At a very reasonable $12, they cost more than generic offerings but provide genuine comfort and sonic benefits that justify their price. You can read more about YAXI pads and purchase a set for yourself here.
I would like to thank Mia from Yaxi Pads very much for her quick communication and for providing me with the ear pads for the purpose of review. All words are my own and there is no monetary incentive for a positive review. Despite receiving the pads free of cost, I will attempt to be as objective as possible in my evaluation.
Stock ear pads
It can be hard to believe that there’s much variance between basic sponge pads, but upon switching to the YAXI pads, the differences are immediately evident. YAXI’s pads are noticeably larger and thicker than the pre-installed Koss pads. They provide a very appreciable comfort upgrade, with a larger surface encompassing more of the ear and more evenly distributing clamp force.
Yaxi ear pads
Their soft rebound that conforms to the ear and smoother texture round off the experience. Yaxi also provides an array of colour options. They all sonically identical but provide a level of personalisation. The orange pair below stick out, in particular, no doubt due to the immense popularity of Guardians of the Galaxy.
The Yaxi Pads provide a more balanced sound on a whole by cleaning up bass and increasing upper-midrange and high-frequency presence to reduce veil. They still provide a warm, rich sound but with added clarity and detail presence in addition to a more accurate if not neutral tone.
Sub-bass extension is notably improved, providing greater slam at the very bottom. Tone is also improved, becoming more accurate through attenuation of mid and upper-bass frequencies. As a result, the headphones aren’t as warm and their low-end presentation sounds both cleaner and more separated, granting higher definition. They still remain on the warmer side and bass isn’t much tighter, but greater linearity does go a long way to alleviate some of the congestion and bloat the headphones have from factory.
Vocals are slightly more laid-back, but due to a cleaner mid and upper-bass and slight increase in upper-midrange presence, clarity is improved by a fair degree. As a result, the pads alleviate much of the veil of the stock pads, providing increased vocal clarity and detail. Vocals remain warm and full, however, they aren’t nearly as chesty or muffled as stock. Meanwhile, instruments are flattered with organic body without erring into congestion. I significantly preferred the Yaxi pad’s midrange presentation to the stock pads.
Highs are more present, most notably lower-treble producing a crisper detail presentation. Detail retrieval is improved as is extension, aiding general resolution. The pads provide slightly more air at the very top due to increased extension which helps to open up the Portapro’s otherwise warmer, fuller sound. Still, as the Portapro is so full-bodied, instruments remain well-bodied and never encroach upon fatigue or sharpness. Vocals also don’t become over-articulated, remaining smooth and dense.
With greater extension, a more neutral tone and greater air, the Yaxi pads provide a more spacious and significantly more separated presentation with greater immersion. Bass separation is notably improved and as mids are cleaned up, layers are more delineated. These pads simply sound more open and focussed.
Simple but effective easily describes Yaxi’s aftermarket ear pads. Their array of colour options provide a dimension of personalisation and nostalgia not offered from factory, and their thicker padding and softer texture pamper the ears more over longer listening than the flimsy stock foams. In listening, the pads provide a very appreciably upgrade over the stock pads where balance is concerned. I would posit that users preferring the fullest, warmest sound, perhaps those that like to use the headphones on the go, may prefer the stock pads. However, for any kind of critical listening, the Yaxi pads are significantly more balanced, opening up the high-end, increasing detail presence and cleaning up the bass and midrange. This is a simple and cost-effective way to enhance your existing headphone in both sound and ergonomics.
The Porta Pro Yaxi Pads can be purchased from Yaxi for $12 USD. I am not affiliated with Yaxi and receive no earnings from purchases through this link.